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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 12967
Attorney Name Litz, Jack
DBP Docket No. 76 DB 2007
Supreme Court Docket No. 1292 DD No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Richard Hernandez
Counsel for Respondent
Decision Date 2007-11-07
Effective Date 2007-12-07
Case Digest In four client matters, Respondent failed to hold inviolate fiduciary funds. In two of the four client matters, Respondent’s escrow account was “out of trust” for less than a month (13 days for one client matter and 22 days for the second client matter). In the third client matter, Respondent held aside from the client’s settlement proceeds $431 to pay medical providers; Respondent failed to remit any payment of these funds to the medical providers. Respondent’s escrow account was “out of trust” with respect to these funds for at least 10 months. In the fourth client matter, Respondent converted funds belonging to a client. Respondent settled the client’s slip and fall claim for a total of $25,000. Respondent received $10,000 from one responsible party, and $13,456.34 from a second responsible party, the City of Philadelphia. Respondent also received a $5,000 check for medical expenses. Respondent properly distributed the $10,000 in settlement proceeds but converted to his own use the client’s share of the $5,000 he received for medical expenses. Respondent also converted to his own use the client’s share of the proceeds from the $15,000 settlement he negotiated with the City of Philadelphia. Respondent made periodic payments to the client of the monies she was owed from the $15,000 settlement. As of March 2006, Respondent owed the client the sum of $7,216.09. Mitigating factors in determining the discipline to impose were Respondent’s: lack of a record of discipline; cooperation, remorse, and satisfaction of the award issued by the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security. Also, Respondent’s delay in distributing the client’s share of the settlement funds was partly explained by Respondent’s concern that the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (“DPW”) might have been entitled to receive a larger share the proceeds. This settlement was consummated after Respondent paid DPW $327.08. On November 7, 2007, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved the Joint Petition in Support of Discipline on Consent in which Respondent consented to a two-year suspension.
Rule Violation(s) RPC 1.15(a), 1.15(b), 8.4(b), 8.4(c), and Pa.R.D.E. 203(b)(3), 219(d)(1)(iii).
Discipline Imposed Suspension for two years.
Points of Law
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